Three weeks had gone by since Lucian and his people defeated the Nosferatu. There had been much cheering and celebration in the days that followed, and while everyone seemed to unanimously agree that it was Lucian who had led them to victory, Lucian himself did not see it that way.
In the days that followed Lucian found himself lying in bed as the sun came up, watching Oliver tear Malachi's spine out of his back over and over again; the way his eyes glowed yellow as he bared his long, beastly teeth. He was like an animal, a beast, and after weeks of suspecting something was off about him Lucian's suspicions were finally confirmed. He had not spoken of what he'd seen to anyone after that night, hadn't uttered a single word about it to anyone, not even to Sterling. While he knew what he had seen he still wasn't certain just what any of it meant. Malachi had referred to him as a Lycani, which was apparently something that was capable of changing shape and appearance at a whim. Based on the conversation the two of them had they were enemies of the Nosferatu, and if what Oliver was saying was true then there would eventually be other Lycani on the way. But when? Why? There were still so many questions left unanswered and no one left Lucian could think of to ask.
Following the defeat of the Nosferatu Xander had left with Oliver to pursue a new life together. Lucian couldn't bring himself to say anything about what he had seen, figuring Xander would ignore his claims and accuse him of being jealous over Oliver as usual. It didn't appear as though Oliver had any intention of harming Xander and perhaps did feel a certain degree of affection for him, but after spending so much time lying to them about who and what he was Lucian couldn't be sure of anything anymore. But for the time being he had to keep faith that Xander could take care of himself and that Oliver would continue to maintain his façade, at least until Lucian could figure out what he was really up to.
Returning back to England after so many weeks away was a relief. Lucian was glad to be back in his own domain, in his own home, in his own bed. But even after the dust had settled and things started going back to what could be considered "normal" he still found himself dwelling on the events that transpired during his time away. Sylvia was dead, the one person who truly seemed to love and accept Lucian the way he was had been taken from him, and the only other person who meant anything to him had run off with a lying savage without as much as a goodbye. Lucian had never been one to feel lonesome before, not when he had so many people around him at virtually all times. But without the two people who meant most to him in his life he felt lost, lonely, and afraid. As much as he wanted them back, he knew such was not possible.
Returning home after a night out tending to his clubs and getting his affairs back in order, Lucian poured himself a glass of blood wine and went to take a sip, only to notice some lipstick smeared along the rim of the glass. He stood staring at it for a moment, remembering the night weeks ago when he had shared a glass of pomegranate flavored blood wine with Sylvia shortly before Father Mullins had stopped by for a visit. He became misty eyed thinking back to that moment in time that seemed as if it happened ages ago. Everything had been simpler then, happier. It seemed so bizarre to him that things had happened so quickly, that in a blink of an eye his entire life had been turned upside down. As he stood running his finger along the edges of Sylvia's lipstick print, Sterling emerged from the other room, finishing his sweep of his penthouse and reporting back to him.
"The perimeter is clear, sir. No threats have been detected," Sterling stated.
Looking up from his glass, Lucian stared at Sterling for a moment and nodded once.
"Thank you, Sterling," Lucian said, smiling weakly. "You can head home now, if you want. I can handle things from here."
Taking a deep breath, Sterling puffed out his chest and sighed, nodding affirmatively.
"Very good, sir," he replied. "Just call me if you need anything."
"I will," Lucian said. "Good night."
"Good night, Master Lucian," Sterling said, bowing his head as he let himself out. Once Lucian was alone, he set his glass down and leaned against the counter in his kitchen, hanging his head as he rubbed his eyes and felt tears burning at the back of them. He had managed to go all these weeks without letting himself think too much about Sylvia's passing or letting himself mourn her death, but the mere sight of her lipstick on the rim of his glass was enough to shatter that resolve and open the floodgates to his emotions. Running his hands through his hair as he wept for Sylvia, he suddenly felt a gust of wind blow in to his apartment, and as he looked up he found the glass door leading out onto the balcony wide open, the curtains pulled over it blowing in the wind. Drying his eyes he stood up straight, cautiously walking across the room over to the balcony door as he looked out and checked to see if anyone was there. Finding no one, Lucian closed the door and locked it shut.
"It's alright cry," a woman said suddenly, startling Lucian as he jumped and spun around to find a tall, lanky, beautiful red headed woman sitting on his couch. He had never seen her before and wasn't entirely sure how she had gotten into his apartment, but judging by the balcony door being open he had an idea what she was at least. His heart pounded in his ears as he eyed the woman suspiciously. She was wearing an expensive looking black pinstriped pantsuit with high heeled shoes and a red blouse on underneath. Sitting with her long legs crossed over each other effeminately, he couldn't help but think she was trying to allure him with her feminine beauty. Calming himself, Lucian took a deep breath and licked his lips as he stared the woman down.
"Who are you?" he demanded. "What are you doing here? What do you want?" he asked.
The woman smiled, stretching her arms out across the back of the couch as she glanced at the chair across from her, beckoning Lucian to sit down. After a moment of consideration, Lucian decided that the woman was no threat, that if she wanted to kill him then she would have done so already. Moving forward, Lucian sat down and looked the woman in the face.
"Alright, start talking," he said tersely.
Smiling, the woman licked her luscious red lips and sighed softly.
"You and I mourn the loss of people we cared deeply about," she stated. "We each lost people we held dear to our hearts and want nothing more than to bring them back. Unfortunately neither of us have that sort of power. But there is one alternative, of course."
Lucian stared at the woman blankly and blinked.
"That is…?" he asked.
"Revenge," the woman replied. "I know you saw what that… beast did down in the Undercroft. I saw the look on your face when he ripped the spine right out of my dearly beloved Malachi's back. And I know that you've lost your dearly beloved Xander to this beast, although not quite in the same manner."
Lucian's eyes grew wide as he realized the loss she was referring to wasn't over Sylvia, but rather, Xander.
"You were there?" he asked incredulously. "You… saw that?"
The woman nodded as a pained look passed over her face.
"The person who killed my beloved is a member of another very dangerous, very deadly race known as the Lycani. My people have been at war with them for hundreds of years, even before we ever came to this planet as a means of escaping them," the woman explained. "For the past few weeks I've been conducting a bit of research, trying to find any information that I could about this Lycani. To my surprise he's been masquerading as a vampire hunter, one in charge of a much larger group of hunters that enlisted your help in fighting against my people. I believe he goes by the name of Oliver, if I'm not mistaken."
Digging his fingers into his knees, Lucian swallowed and nodded slowly.
"Yes," he confirmed. "That much is true."
"Fascinating," the woman said. "So tell me, during your partnership with… 'Oliver', did you ever suspect even for a moment that he was anything other than what he said he was?"
Lucian shook his head.
"No," he replied. "I mean, I did feel as if there were something off about him but I never would have imagined he was a… a…" he stammered.
"Lycani," the woman stated.
Still having trouble coming to terms with the fact that Oliver was a shape-shifting alien who ripped people's spines out of their backs, Lucian nodded and took a deep breath.
"Yes, a… Lycani," he said, the word still sounding strange on his tongue.
Pursing her lips, the woman tilted her head forward and sighed.
"I know this must be a lot for you to take in," she said. "And I'm sure you've struggled with the decision as to whether you should tell someone about what you saw or not. I'm not here to convince you one way or another. What I have come to do though is convince you to join my people in an effort to fight back against them. Oliver is the first, but he will not be the last. He killed Malachi because he feared if he let him live then he would rally the Nosferatu to fight back. The Lycani are stronger and fiercer than we are, and when they arrive they will not differentiate between Nosferatu and Vampire. All they will see are two bloodsucking races who need to be exterminated. That is why I am proposing an alliance between our two races in order to combat the Lycani and give us a fighting chance. Your people have proven themselves capable of going toe to toe with us, and as such we would be honored to have you fight by our side."
Lucian almost couldn't believe what he was hearing. After all the pain and suffering his people had endured fighting to defeat the Nosferatu, this woman expected him to turn around and ask them to align themselves with them in order to face some new, as of yet unseen threat? The audacity of it all sent his mind reeling, but at the same time he knew that she was right. He had seen what Oliver had done and heard what he planned to do. Lucian would consider himself a fool if he sat idly by and did nothing to prepare for the coming threat.
"Look," Lucian said, leaning forward as he wove his fingers together. "I understand where you're coming from. I do. But my people are still recovering from the war your people started. They've lost friends, family, and loved ones just as we have, yet you expect me to turn around and ask them to fight with you?"
The woman leaned forward and looked Lucian square in the eyes as she swallowed.
"Yes, I do," she replied. "Before he died Malachi informed me of his arrangement with you. He told me that if Xander convinced you to help defeat Keller that he would end the war and call a truce. But now both of them are gone and it was left up to me to carry on Malachi's legacy. I was the one who call off my people. I was the one who told them that their leader was dead. I honored Malachi's promise by ending the war, and now I am honoring his promise to call a truce. We cannot afford to stand divided against the Lycani whenever they arrive. There are too few of us to stand against them, and your people would not even begin to have enough strength to fight back. But together, united as one, we might just have a chance."
Staring back at the woman as his heart pounded in his ears, Lucian swallowed and sat back, turning her proposition over in his mind. While everything she said and pointed out made sense to him, he kept finding himself going back to Xander and how he was off running around with a bloodthirsty savage. Feeling his heart sink into his stomach, Lucian stood up suddenly and turned to find his phone.
"I have to get in touch with Xander," he said. "He has to know. I have to warn him."
The woman appeared before him in the blink of an eye, blocking his path forward.
"Lucian, stop," she said tersely, grabbing him by the shoulders as she looked him square in the eye. "Listen to me. If you call Xander, if you manage to get in touch with him and tell him about Oliver, what do you think he's going to say? What do you think he'll do?"
Lucian swallowed, tears stinging the back of his eyes as his vocal chords constricted.
"I don't know, but he's not safe with him. I can't leave him alone with that monster," he said.
"Need I remind you that Xander killed Keller?" the woman replied. "Xander is more than capable of taking care of himself. You've spent most of your life watching over him and protecting him, but now he's no longer your responsibility. You have much bigger problems to worry about than some mangy beast sticking it in your childhood friend. Oliver clearly cares about Xander to some extent, and I doubt he'll do anything to harm him, not unless you do something to provoke him. So for the time being, leave them alone. Let them go about their business while you work on devising a plan to fight the Lycani."
Taking long, slow breaths, Lucian nodded and breathed a heavy sigh as he backed away from the woman and ran his hands through his hair.
"Alright," he said, licking his lips nervously. "But if we're going to work together, you're going to have to tell me everything you know about them."
"Of course," the woman said, smiling slyly. "We can't come up with a plan to defend our people without knowing everything there is to know about the enemy, now can we?"
Lucian shook his head and swallowed as the woman extended her hand.
"It's a pleasure to be working with you, Lucian Dobre," the woman said as Lucian shook her hand. "And please, call me Yvette."